Forget Solar Power: Nokia Is Developing a Radio Wave-Powered Cell Phone

nokia wave

Solar-powered cell phone prototypes and rumors abound, but Nokia has a battery-less alternative power source for our cell phones lined up: radio waves. The company told MIT’s Technology Review that it is working on technology to suck up enough power from ambient radio waves emitted by Wi-Fi transmitters, cell phone antennas, and television masts to keep a cell phone charged.

A prototype radio wave-powered cell phone in development at the Nokia Research Center in Cambridge, U.K. will be able to harvest 50 milliwatts of power (enough to recharge a turned-off phone), and current prototypes can harvest 3 to 5 milliwatts. Nokia’s device works much like radio frequency RFID tags that convert electromagnetic waves into radio signals. It’s a system that requires a wideband receiver to harvest as many different frequencies (between 500 megahertz and 10 gigahertz) as possible.

If Nokia’s technology works, it could be used in a range of electronic devices. MP3 players, for example, use 100 milliwatts of power and could easily be recharged by Nokia’s radio wave power. Nokia plans to release the technology in three to five years, probably as an add-on to solar cell-equipped phones.

[Via MIT Technology Review]

Photo Credit: Technology Review

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